Laura Pausini, omri (Italian pronunciation: [pauËˆziËni]; born 16 May 1974) is an Italian pop singer-songwriter. She debuted in 1993, winning the newcomer artists' section of the 43rd Sanremo Music Festival with the song "La solitudine", which became an Italian standard and an international hit, reaching the top spot on the Italian Musica e Dischi singles chart, as well as on the Dutch Top 40 and on the Flemish VRT Top 30.
Her eponymous debut album was released in Italy on 23 April 1993 and later became an international success, selling two million copies worldwide. Her second studio album, Laura, was released in 1994 and confirmed her international success, selling three million copies worldwide and spawning the hit singles "Strani amori" and "Gente". In November 1994 she released her first Spanish language album, titled Laura Pausini and composed of ten songs included in her previous works. The album was certified diamond by the Association of Phonographic and Videographic of Spain, making her the first non-Spanish artist to sell more than one million copies in Spain.
During her career, she won three Latin Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Album, with her records Escucha (2005), Yo canto (2007) and Primavera anticipada (2009). On 8 February 2006 she also became the first Italian female artist to win a Grammy Award, receiving the prize for Best Latin Pop Album with Escucha. As of today, she has released ten studio albums, an international greatest hits album and two compilation albums released for the Hispanic and Anglophone market only, respectively. She performs most of her songs both in Italian and Spanish, but she has also recorded songs in English, French and Portuguese. In 2004, Allmusic's Jason Birchmeier considered Pausini's sales "an impressive feat for someone who'd never really broken into the lucrative English-language market". As of 2011, according to Warner Music Italy, Pausini had sold more than 45 million records worldwide, while other esteemed sales as those brought by the RAI, affirm that she has sold around 70 million records.
Childhood and early beginnings
The elder of two daughters, Laura Pausini was born in Faenza, in the Province of Ravenna, Italy, to Fabrizio Pausini and Gianna Ballardini. She grew up in Solarolo, a small comune in the same region. Her father is a former pianist who also played as a sessionman for ABBA's Frida Lyngstad and entered a band whose members later founded the Italian pop group Pooh. After becoming a piano bar artist, he encouraged Pausini to start performing as a singer. Her first live performance was on 16 May 1985, when she sang together with her father in a restaurant in Bologna. Since then, her father started giving her singing lessons and she continued to perform alongside him in local piano bars. In the meanwhile, she also started singing in a church choir.
In 1987 she recorded her first demo album, produced by her father and released to promote her live shows. Titled I sogni di Laura, it consisted of eight covers and five new songs. In 1991 she participated in the Castrocaro Music Festival singing Liza Minnelli's "New York, New York", but she failed to reach the final stage of the competition. During the same year, she took part in another singing competition, Sanremo Famosi, which should have served as a selection for the newcomers' of the following Sanremo Music Festival. Despite being declared joint winner with another contestant, Pausini was not allowed to compete in the Sanremo Music Festival 1992.
1993: Career breakthrough
Thanks to her performances in local singing competitions, Pausini was noted by Italian producer and songwriter Angelo Valsiglio, who introduced her the manager Marco Marati. Valsiglio proposed her "La solitudine", a song he wrote with Pietro Cremonesi and Federico Cavalli. Pausini's rendition convinced Valsiglio and Marati, who wanted Pausini to audition for some major labels. During one of the auditions, she met Fabrizio Giannini of Warner Music Italy's Compagnia Generale del Disco. After impressing him performing an unreleased Mia Martini song, Pausini obtained her first recording contract, becoming one of the first artists being discovered by Giannini, who later launched the careers of several Italian acts, including Luciano Ligabue and Irene Grandi.
Pausini rose to fame in 1993, after winning the 43rd Sanremo Music Festival, annually held at the Teatro Ariston in Sanremo, Italy
"La solitudine" was selected as one of the entries of the newcomer artists' section of the 43rd Sanremo Music Festival. Pausini performed it for the first time on 23 February 1993, during the first semifinal of the contest. After being admitted to the final, held on 27 February 1993, she won the competition, receiving 7,464 votes by the juries and beating Gerardina Trovato with "Ma non ho piÃ¹ la mia cittÃ ", who took second place with 7,209 votes. The song also became a commercial success in Italy, peaking at number one on the Italian Musica e Dischi singles chart in March 1993 and maintaining the top spot for three consecutive weeks, and it is still one of Pausini's best-known hits.
Following the success obtained with her debut single, Pausini started working on her first professional album, Laura Pausini. The album was recorded while Pausini was still a high school student at the "Gaetano Ballardini" Institute of Ceramics in Faenza, Italy, where she got her diploma a few months after the release of her debut studio set. Released by CGD Records in May 1993, it reached the sixth position on the Italian Musica e Dischi albums chart, selling 400,000 copies in Italy. The album was also promoted through an Italian outdoor tour during the summer of 1993. In September 1993, Pausini received a Telegatto for Revelation of the Year.
In late 1993, the album was released in the rest of Europe, peaking at number three on the Dutch Albums Chart and reaching the top spot in Belgium. It also achieved commercial success in South America, being certified gold in Brazil and Argentina. Worldwide sales of Pausini's debut studio album exceed two million units. Moreover, "La solitudine" became a radio hit in Belgium and the Netherlands, it peaked at number five on the French Singles Chart and it reached the top spot of the Dutch Top 40 and of the Flemish VRT Top 30. The album also spawned the singles "Non c'è" and "Perché non torna piÃ¹".
1994-1995: Spanish-language debut and international success
In February 1994, Pausini participated for the second time in the Sanremo Music Festival, competing in the "Big Artists" section with her entry "Strani amori". The song ranked third in the competition, behind Aleandro Baldi's "PasserÃ " and Giorgio Faletti's "Signor tenente", and became a hit in Italy, in the Netherlands and in Flanders. The single launched Pausini's second studio album, Laura, released in February 1994. According to CGD Records, the album sold 150,000 copies in Italy in its first week, with initial shipments of 200,000 units. It also peaked at number one on the Dutch Albums Chart and entered the charts in Belgium and Switzerland, selling three million copies worldwide and achieving gold and platinum status in Brazil and Argentina, respectively. Other singles from the album were "Gente", "Lui non sta con te" and "Lettera". During the summer of 1994, Pausini took part in the Italian itinerant TV show Festivalbar, reaching the final stage of the music competition and receiving the Premio Europa for her international success. In 1994 she was also awarded with her second Telegatto, receiving the prize for Best Female Artist. In the meanwhile, she started an Italian tour to promote her album.
During the same year, Pausini released her first Spanish-language album, Laura Pausini, a compilation of ten adapted versions of hits from her previous albums, issued by Dro Records. The record became the best-selling album of 1994 in Spain, where it was later certified diamond by the Association of Phonographic and Videographic of Spain for sales exceeding one million units. Pausini was the first non-Spanish artist to achieve this result. Following the commercial success obtained in the country, the Spanish Institute of Italian Culture awarded her a "Globo de Platino" for contibuting in the spread of Italian culture in Spain.
The album was successful in Latin America too, being certified platinum by the Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers, the AsociaciÃ³n Colombiana de Productores de Fonogramas and the Chilean division of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Moreover, the first four singles from the album, "La soledad", "Se fue", "Amores extraÃ±os" and "Gente", entered the top 30 on the Hot Latin Songs chart compiled by Billboard. Thanks to these results, Billboard ranked Pausini the second female revelation of 1994, after Mariah Carey. In 1995 Pausini also received the World Music Award for Best Selling Italian Recording Artist and the Lo Nuestro Award for Best New Artist of the Year.
Pausini's first record for the British market was a self-titled compilation album released in 1995, including nine Italian-language hits and an English-language version of her first single, "La solitudine (Loneliness)", whose lyrics were adapted by Tim Rice. "La solitudine (Loneliness)" was initially set to be released as a single in the United Kingdom on 19 June 1995, but it was postponed and released in September of the same year. Both the album and the single obtained a very poor commercial reception, failing to enter the charts in the United Kingdom.
1996-1997: Third album and World Wide Tour 1997
Following the success obtained by Pausini's debut Spanish album, her third album was released in 1996 both in Italian and Spanish, starting "a practice that has come to define her career and compound her success". The album, titled Le cose che vivi / Las cosas que vives, was released on 12 September 1996 and was preceded by the single "Incancellabile". A special edition of the album was released in Brazil, featuring three additional bonus tracks in Portuguese.
On 1 March 1997, Pausini launched from Geneva the World Wide Tour in support of her new album, giving concerts around the world for four months. The album sold 3,500,000 million copies worldwide and was certified Platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, for European sales exceeding 1,000,000 copies.
1998-1999: La mia risposta / Mi respuesta and second World Tour
In 1998, Pausini released La mia risposta / Mi respuesta, her fourth studio album, including a song penned by Phil Collins. The album was dubbed by music critics as a mature work, with influences from soul music, but was a moderate commercial success, selling two million copies worldwide.
To promote the album, Pausini began in early 1999 the La mia risposta World Tour '99, during which she performed in theatres throughout Europe. On 1 June 1999, she was one of the artists performing along with Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti in Modena during his annual "Pavarotti and Friends" concert. Pavarotti and Pausini duetted in the Italian version of the aria "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz", titled "Tu che m'hai preso il cuor", from Franz Lehár's operetta Das Land des Lächelns. The live performance was later included in the album Pavarotti & Friends for the Children of Guatemala and Kosovo.
In 1999 she also contributed the Richard Marx composition "One More Time" to the Message in a Bottle soundtrack. The track was produced by David Foster who was featured on piano.
2000-2001: Tra te e il mare / Entre tÃº y mil mares and greatest hits album
In 2000, she recorded the song "The Extra Mile" for the soundtrack of the movie Pokémon 2000: The Power of One. The song was included in the album Tra te e il mare / Entre tÃº y mil mares, released on 11 September 2000 and preceded by the homonymous single, written by the Italian pop singer Biagio Antonacci. The album also features the song "Viaggio con te", awarded in 2001 with the Italian Lunezia Award for Best Songwriter of the Year.
2001 saw the release of Pausini's first hits compilation both in Italian and Spanish: The Best of Laura Pausini: E ritorno da te / Lo mejor de Laura Pausini: Volveré junto a ti. The first single's video, "E ritorno da te" / "Volveré junto a ti", was filmed by Italian film director Gabriele Muccino. The album also includes the single "Una storia che vale" and features guest appearances by Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil in "Seamisai" and by Italian singer Nek, who plays the bass in "Non c'è". Supported by the 2001/2002 World Tour, which started in Miami on 19 October 2001, the greatest hits became one of Pausini's biggest commercial successes, selling 700,000 copies in Italy and 800,000 copies in France.
On 30 November 2002, Pausini released Live 2001-2002 World Tour, her first live DVD, filmed during the concert she gave in Milan on 2 December 2001.
2002-2003: From the Inside, the English-language debut
In 2001, Pausini started working with producers such as Patrick Leonard and John Shanks on her first English language album, From the Inside. Released in Canada, Mexico and the United States by Atlantic Records on 5 November 2002, the album did not get the expected success, selling 100,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen-Soundscan. The album singles "Surrender" and "If That's Love" reached the top spot on the Hot Dance Club Songs Chart, but Pausini, disappointed at her English language debut being ignored in the U.S. outside the club scene, abandoned the promotion for From the Inside. The album was later released in Europe too, selling 800,000 copies worldwide.
In 2003 Luciano Pavarotti invited her for the second time to the "Pavarotti and Friends" concert, where they duetted again in "Tu che m'hai preso il cuor".
2004-2005: Resta in ascolto / Escucha and the Grammy
In October 2004 Pausini released her eight studio album, Resta in ascolto / Escucha. Influenced by international artists including Phil Collins and Celine Dion, the recording is on the subject of a break-up and was written in 2002, during her separation from her ex-boyfriend and producer Alfredo Cerruti.
The album features the song "Mi abbandono a te" / "Me abandono a ti", co-written by Pausini, Rick Nowels and Madonna. It also includes the ballad "Vivimi" / "Viveme", written by Biagio Antonacci, and the single "Benedetta passione" / "Bendecida pasiÃ³n", penned by Italian rock-star Vasco Rossi. Well received by music critics, the album is mainly focused on themes of anger, bitterness, desire for independence and interior peace, but also features a song about the Iraq War, in which Pausini sings about Ali Ismail Abbas, a boy who was severely injured in a nighttime rocket attack near Baghdad in 2003.
The album debuted at number one on the Italian Albums Chart and sold 350,000 copies in Italy. Its Spanish version later won Best Female Pop Vocal Album at the Latin Grammy Awards of 2005 and Best Latin Pop Album at the 48th Grammy Awards, making Pausini the first Italian female artist to win a Grammy Award.
Pausini made a guest appearance on Michael Bublé's 2005 live album Caught in the Act, singing a duet with Bublé of Lou Rawls' hit "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine". The duet was placed on both the audio CD, and the full concert DVD that aired on PBS as an episode of Great Performances.
At the 2006 Lo Nuestro Award, Pausini was nominated in the sections Album of the Year for Escucha, Song of the Year and Video of the Year for "Viveme" and won the award for Best Female Pop Artist.
In January 2005, Pausini started a new tour to promote the album. The concerts she gave at the Zénith de Paris on 22 and 23 March 2005 were filmed and released as a live album in November 2005, titled Live in Paris 05.
2006-2007: Io canto and the concert in San Siro
In November 2006, Pausini released the album Io canto / Yo canto, consisting of covers of Italian pop rock songs. On the album liner notes, Pausini wrote: "here is the music I listen to when I'm at my saddest, or when I feel a moment is special, the songs I used to sing as a young girl when I first started performing, and above all those which taught me to love music, and how music can move you so deeply, regardless of its genre or style".
The album also features duets with Tiziano Ferro, Juanes and Johnny Hallyday. It debuted at number one on the Italian Albums Chart and held the top spot for 8 non-consecutive weeks. It also became the best-selling album of 2006 in Italy, selling 500,000 copies in less than two months. On 8 November 2007, the album won Best Female Pop Vocal Album at the Latin Grammy Awards. Laura dedicated the award to the memory of Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Later on during the show she sang "Vivere (Dare to Live)" alongside Italian singer Andrea Bocelli.
In Summer 2006, Pausini played a Juntos en concierto tour with Marc Anthony and Marco Antonio SolÃs, consisting of 20 concerts throughout the United States.
On 2 June 2007, Laura Pausini was the first female artist to play at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, in front of a crowd of 70,000 spectators. On 30 November 2007, the concert was released on CD and DVD, under the title San Siro 2007.
2008-2010: Primavera in anticipo, Amiche per l'Abruzzo and Laura Live
Pausini spent the first months of 2008 recording her tenth studio album, Primavera in anticipo / Primavera anticipada. The Spanish language edition of the album was released on 11 November 2008, while the Italian language edition was released in Italy on 14 November 2008.] The album was preceded by the single "Invece no" / "En cambio no", released on 24 October 2008 and promoted with an appearance in Piazza TrinitÃ dei Monti in Rome on 14 November 2008. The album also features a the single "Primavera in anticipo (It Is My Song)" / Primavera anticipada (It Is My Song)", a duet with British singer-songwriter James Blunt. In November 2009 the album won Best Female Album at the Latin Grammy Awards. In 2010 Pausini also won the Lo Nuestro Award for Female Artist of the Year.
On 21 June 2009, Pausini organized a mega-concert in the San Siro Stadium in Milan, raising money to support the victims of the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake. The concert, named Amiche per l'Abruzzo, involved 43 Italian female singers and was later released on a DVD, which sold 250,000 copies in Italy.
In the meanwhile, Pausini began on 5 March 2009 from Turin the World Tour 2009, which reached Europe in May 2009 and then South America and the United States in Autumn 2009. The last leg of the tour took place in Italy in November 2009. A CD of the tour, along with a DVD, was released on 27 November 2009 with the title Laura Live World Tour 09 / Laura Live Gira Mundial 09. The album also includes three new song, the singles "Con la musica alla radio" / "Con la musica en la radio", "Non sono lei" / "Ella no soy" and "Casomai" / "Menos mal".
2011-present: Inedito, the 2012 World Tour and new DVD
On 30 December 2010, Pausini announced her eleventh studio album, Inedito / Inédito, released both in Italian and Spanish on 11 November 2011. The title and the tracklist of the album were announced through Pausini's website on 10 September 2011. The first single from the album, "Benvenuto" / "Bienvenido", was released on 12 September 2011.
In order to promote the album, Pausini engaged the Inedito World Tour, starting with 11 shows in Italy in late December 2011. The tour reached Latin America in January and February 2012. The European leg of her tour visited the principle arenas of France, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Holland, and concluded at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The album also spawned the singles "Non ho mai smesso" / "Jamás abandoné", "Bastava" / "Bastaba", "Mi tengo" and "Le cose che non mi aspetto".
On 25 June 2012, Pausini took part in the mega-concert Concerto per l'Emilia, organized to raise funds in support of the people affected by the 2012 Northern Italy earthquakes. During the show, Pausini dueted with Cesare Cremonini, performing a cover of Lucio Dalla's "L'anno che verrÃ ".
It was confirmed by Pausini that the DVD of the tour is being released on Christmas 2012, in both Italian and Spanish. They were recorded, respectively, in Bologna on April 17 and in Madrid on April 20 2012.
Laura Pausini is described as a mezzo-soprano with a classic and powerful voice. Due to her voice, Pausini has been compared by music critics to various female artists, including Milva, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Barbra Streisand.
At the beginning of her career, she has been considered by music critics as a teen idol mainly singing about adolescent love affairs and problems. She was also strongly criticized for her songs, described as too melancholic and trivial. Starting from her 1998's La mia risposta / Mi respuesta, Italian music critics considered her as a more mature singer and later praised her simplicity and her voice, describing Pausini as an interpreter of her years.
Although Pausini is mainly a melodic pop singer, her musical style evolved during her career, with influences from various genres, including Latin music, soul music and rock music. In 2001, David Cazares of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel described Pausini's music as "an assortment of glossy and sentimental pop ballads backed by light rock instrumentation and synthesized strings". In 2006, The Washington Post's Achy Obejas wrote that Pausini is distinguished from other Latin pop singer by her sophistication and her European sensibilities. According to Musica e dischi's Antonio Orlando, the key elements in Pausini's style are romanticism, optimism, melancholy and surrounding melodies.
Starting from her 1996's album Le cose che vivi / Las cosas que vives, Pausini has also co-wrote most of her songs and starting from her 1998's La mia risposta / Mi respuesta she has been involved in the production of her albums.
Pausini left her hometown in 1995, when she moved to Milan with her partner, manager and producer Alfredo Cerruti Jr. Their relationship ended in 2002. Between 2002 and 2005 Pausini was romantically involved with her new manager, Gabriele Parisi. She is currently engaged with the Italian guitarist, composer, music producer and former singer Paolo Carta.
Pausini describes herself as a Roman Catholic woman, but expressed doubts about Roman Church's position on various themes, including contraception, abortion and premarital sex. In September 2000 she explained her position during an interview to the Italian newspaper la Repubblica:
I believe so much in God, and the Pope is the man I want to meet the most in the world. I've known him in 1996. I just have a few doubts about the Catholic Church, like for example the discrimination against homosexuals. I don't understand why they condemn racism, but at the same time they take issue with gay people.
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